Part two of a Premier League pre-season review

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This is part two of our analysis of each sides summer activity and we start off in the north-east. Missed part one? Click here to catch up.

Newcastle United

Last season - 15th

A fairly low key tour of the US and similarly low key friendlies have yielded very little in terms of positive results but things may be looking up in the north east for once. John Carver's disastrous run as caretaker manager has paved the way for Steve McLaren to ride in on a wave of renewed optimism.


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Who Newcastle have bought seems to be less important than the fact that they have actually spent some money for once but the signings of Georginio Wijnaldum and Aleksandar Mitrovic in particular should strengthen them.

Last season's strong performers were few and far between but the likes of Daryl Janmaat, Jack Colback and Moussa Sissokho came through with some credit and remain at the club for this season. GOOD SUMMER

Norwich City

Last season - N/A

Promotion to the Premier League means you have to decide whether to stick or twist. Last season Burnley chose to stick whilst QPR opted to twist. Both were relegated, proving that neither is a guarantee for survival.

Norwich, in the most part, have chosen the Burnley model and only time will tell whether that proves to be successful. Graham Dorrans is a player who has the ability to excite or disappear in equal measure and Youssouf Mulumbu would add some steel to the midfield had he not broken a metatarsal just days ago, ruling him out for at least a month. Winger Robbie Brady comes in for a fee of around £7 million but was hardly the stand out for relegated Hull last season.

The early indications are that this is going to be a long, hard season for the Canaries. BAD SUMMER


Last season - 7th

Tipped by many for relegation last season due to the mass exodus of talent such as Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Rickie Lambert, as well as the loss of boss Mauricio Pochettino to Spurs, Southampton (under new boss Ronald Koeman) had a short lived challenge for a Champions League spot and subsequently finished seventh which was nothing short of miraculous. Their form in the second half of the season was a little more telling however.

Jay Rodriguez's long term injury means he hasn't kicked a ball in over a year and his return will be welcome news.

A lot will be expected of new additions Juanmi, Cedric Soares and in particular the talented Dutch midfielder Jordy Clasie. Steven Caulker may even come good in a team that knows how to defend.

However, the further loss of Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Schneiderlin, and the failure to retain Toby Alderweireld, as well as the addition of physically demanding Europa League football, could see Southampton take their place in the bottom half of the table this season. BAD SUMMER

Stoke City

Last season - 9th

Stoke's impressive season peaked with a 6-1 home victory over a clueless Liverpool and it is the same fixture that kicks off their campaign this year.  

The loss of Asmir Begovic has been tempered with the arrival of Shay Given who may have a season left in him. Glen Johnson's arrival on a free adds some more experience. The arrival of Ibrahim Afellay, once touted as a future world beater, has excited fans but has a lot to prove.

The best news, however, could be the return of another ex-Barca forward Bojan Krkic. The Spaniard had made an excellent start to his career at the Britannia last yearbefore seeing his season ended by injury at the turn of the year. GOOD SUMMER


Last season - 16th

For the second season in a row, the Wearsiders looked like goners. This time it was the turn of Dick Advocaat to play the role of saviour. His wife's decision to allow him to renege on his promise to retire was the first bit of good news.

The arrival of Dutch international Jeremain Lens and now Frenchman Yann M'Vila, along with the sometimes reliable Younes Kaboul mean they will be more competitive. The main concern could be goals so the decision to allow Connor Wickham go is perplexing. Whether there is another striker coming to add to Fletcher, Defoe and Graham remains to be seen. GOOD SUMMER

Swansea City

Last season - 8th

Swansea's finish of eighth last season was impressive. All the more so when you consider they sold their biggest asset, Wilfried Bony, to Man City in January. Their form without the striker was pretty much the same as it was with him.

Andre Ayew aside, their incomings are a largely unknown quantity and their pre-season activity, much like their Premier League performances, have gone under the radar but last season's team remains largely intact so another mid table finish is not beyond the realms of possibility. GOOD SUMMER

Tottenham Hotspur

Last season - 5th

Pochettino's Spurs fell just short last season...again. They've had a quiet pre-season both on and off the pitch, choosing to only have three pre-season games with the first as late as the 30th July. The signing of Toby Alderweireld is a good one but Kevin Wimmer and Kieran Trippier, although good players, are unlikely to worry the established top four.

The failure, so far, to remove Adebayor from the wage bill and add a top class player to the ranks means Spurs are chasing another fifth place finish at best. BAD SUMMER


Last season - N/A

Watford's intimacy issues with managers looked to have come to an end when Slavisa Jokanovic guided the Hornets to promotion in May, almost claiming the Championship title in the process. The decision not to retain Jokanovic and plump for former Atletico Madrid coach Quique Flores means that Watford are on their fifth manager in a year.

Almost a whole new team has come in with the stand-outs being Sebastian Prodl (from Werder Bremen), Matej Vydra (from Udinese) and Valon Behrami (from Hamburg). Matching Spurs' £6 million valuation of Etienne Capoue is almost comical though. It's going to be a long couple of months for Quique Flores; until he becomes the first managerial casualty of the season, that is. BAD SUMMER

West Bromwich Albion

Last season - 13th

Tony Pulis, unsurprisingly, got West Brom organised after his arrival on New Years Day and ultimately kept them up, if not in as impressive a fashion as he had done at Palace a year earlier.

New arrival James McClean's early career promise has given way to a reputation for controversy which is largely undeserved. A good player is in there somewhere and Pulis could be the manager to draw it out. The signing of versatile defender James Chester is another solid addition.

The refusal to lower their asking price for Saido Berahino has kept Spurs at bay and the player's decision to sever ties with controversial agent Aidy Ward could mean that he is no longer in a rush to get away although a new contract is yet to be signed. GOOD SUMMER

West Ham United

Last season - 12th

The fact that West Ham's season is already five weeks old highlights the idiocy of the Europa League qualifying rounds. Six competitive games before a ball has been kicked in the Premier League is unhealthy for a team's long term prospects and their elimination this week could be a blessing in disguise.

Big Sam's impending sacking was the second worst kept secret in football history last season and only bettered by the fact that Slaven Bilic would be his successor.

His legendary status at Upton Park seems to have been slightly overplayed (just 48 games as a West Ham player) and his managerial record since 'masterminding' Croatia's victory over England in the Euro 2012 qualifiers is nothing more than ordinary.  

The arrival of Dimitri Payet from Marseille will add creativity and goals and the signing of Angelo Ogbonna could well be one of the signings of the season. Allowing Stewart Downing to leave for Middlesbrough was a surprising decision and could turn out to be a regretful one. Mainly for the fact that West Ham have already played a dozen games it's a...BAD SUMMER 

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